House flag, Bullard King and Co.

The house flag of Bullard King and Co., London. A red rectangular flag with a narrow white cross overall. In the centre, there is a white label with the red initials 'BK & Co'. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle are attached.

Bullard King and Company was founded in 1850 with a fleet of small sailing ships trading from the Thames to the Mediterranean. In 1879 they introduced the Natal Direct Line to carry passengers directly to Durban (in those days also known as Port Natal) with their first steamer, SS ‘Pongola’. Routes were later added to other East African ports and to Mauritius. In 1889 they commenced sailings from India to South Africa to carry field labourers for sugar plantations. The company’s fleet was added to in the early 1900s with the launch of ‘Umsinga’, ‘Umvolosi’, ‘Umzumbi’ and ‘Umhlali’. About this time the ships were painted white but this soon gave way to a light grey hull which persisted until the company's demise in the 1960s. The buff, black-topped funnel with a central encircling chocolate band was the company's trademark throughout. In 1911 immigration from India was stopped and in 1919 Bullard King & Company was taken over by the Union Castle Line, although it kept its independent identity and colours. Their last ships were merged into the Springbok Line in 1960.

Object Details

ID: AAA0181
Collection: Textiles; Flags
Type: House flag
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: circa 1951
People: Bullard King & Co Ltd; Pope, Charles Meredyth Natal Line
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Pope Collection. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the copyright owner of the flag's emblem and would welcome any information that would help us update our records. Please contact the Picture Library.
Measurements: flag: 1168.4 x 1727.2 mm

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